ELLIE'S DIARY 22 March 1983

Ellie Vale Aged 14

I still can’t understand it. And I’m not sure I ever will. But what happened today changed me. Changed who I am, and who I think I am.

It was just another ordinary day. I was at the bus stop as usual in the Fulham Palace Road. I was people watching the way I do.  Shop keepers were opening up, people were talking about things precious to them, and cars were weaving in and out between pedestrians trying to get to work. I sighed at the mundane scene life presented. Was this all there was. School, college, and some dead-end job. Is this what I had to expect of my future?

I stared upwards for answers, not expecting to receive any, but I was wrong.

For at that very second, the sky ripped apart. It peeled back, in much the same way as when I open my yoghurt in the morning. It teased, revealing itself to me for one stunning, spectacular moment, and underneath the sky, I saw a glimpse of glass. No, it was more like crystal. It had facets that captured the morning sunlight and splintered it, spreading rainbows across the blue expanse, despite there being no rain.

What was even odder, no one looked up. Those people all around me, coming out of shops, waiting for the bus, crossing the road; none of them acknowledged the parting of the sky. It was as if they had seen nothing. Which I knew was impossible.

I called out ‘Did you see that?’ And people turned on me as if I were mad. They stared, laughed or just ignored me, and walked past, their steps quickening in a bid to get away from the ‘crazy girl’. But I knew what I’d seen. If only for a second.

Something else.

That revelation has paved the way for me now. I always felt like I’d been added-on to life. No Mum or Dad, and my Great Aunt, lovely as she is, always seems to be just putting up with me, until I’m old enough to go my own way.

But today, I know that life had been added-on to me.

I had a purpose beyond the reality I knew, beyond the mundane and the ordinary, and I knew my future would be amazing.

Sabena's Log - October 8, 1987, Cambridge University

Sabena Sanantoni

I wasn't expecting much. All those prissy, public school pricks only knew one kind of shafting. It would be down to the pub to get a taste of the 'local cuisine'.

But then, he got up and spoke. His words echoed a defiance of everything, an abject abhorrence to convention. Although his delivery focused on particle physics, the sound of his voice set me alight.

I sat transfixed, in awe of this arrogant, brilliant beast. As beautiful in mind as he was in body.

He must have sensed something. His feral instincts on overdrive, for he looked over. His eyes burned into me, captured me and imprisoned me. In one single look. It wasn't like a crush, or even a deep attraction. This was base desire. Animal lust. His eyes sucked me in.

And all I could feel was need. Hot, sticky insatiable need, rising inside me.

He was living perfection, and I wanted nothing more than to shatter that exquisiteness to pieces. To feel him lose control, such that he could. And I would ride him 'till he was broken and mine.

The lecture had finished, but I was still caught up in my reverie.

"It's Salim."

Like spacetime had doubled on itself, he suddenly stood in front of me.

"Sabena" I proffered my hand but he ignored it.

He looked at me. His eyes drilling deep to touch the core of my being.

"I will take you so hard you will cry for mercy."

I was speechless. The furnace I'd been stoking throughout the lecture exploded. I'm sure Salim could see the reaction in my eyes, for he grabbed my hair roughly and pushed his lips upon mine with savage intensity. Unlike anything I have experienced with other guys of his age.

We never made it to the next tutorial.

Salim, I know is a creature of the dark. Pain is his ultimate pleasure. And oh boy, did I scream, he was certainly right about that. Though not as a result of his deliciously violent violation. I screamed because I had finally found my match, my true soul mate.

A man carved from the very coals of Hell itself. Just like me.

Sabena's Log - April 12, 1988, Cambridge University

Sabena Sanantoni

Whatever way you look at Salim, he's not your average nineteen year old. With his private plane on standby, speedboat, sports car, in town penthouse, out of town country pile and a string of staff ready to service his every whim, Salim Al Douri is an industry in himself.

I soon realised that whatever Salim wants, he gets.

He got me, that's for sure. But for Salim, I'm not enough. I always knew that would be the case. You see, Salim has a large appetite. He likes to taste a range of dishes from many different places.

So, to ensure I continue to pique his interest, I've devised a scheme, or rather a game. By partaking in such endeavours, Salim can always enjoy a varied and plentiful menu. And I can continue to reign over Salim’s extracurricular life.

It’s been very easy. My peers here are so pliable. So effortlessly influenced. Salim and I have displayed a life style of sheer excess. And now everyone wants to be with us. Whatever the association, however tenuous the link, being with Salim and I gives serious credibility. We're the beautiful ones, the brilliant ones. The ones to be with…And those fawning fools will do anything we say just to savour the crumbs from our table.

It's such fun, knowing that all I have to say to all those pert young freshers is "Do you wanna be in my gang?"

It’s an invitation none can refuse.

Salim loves theatre. The cellar we use for our little ‘initiation games’ has been decked out like the set of Caligula, which given the activities conducted beneath the hallowed seat of learning, is very in-keeping.

I watch them walk through the door hidden by the heavy scarlet curtain. Fearful yet full of anticipation. You can see their skin glowing, their movements awkward, hesitant but at the same time yearning to know more. They’ve all heard the stories, we’ve intentionally promulgated. But the truth is somewhat different. Once they enter, they will never be the same again.

But they know to be in with Salim and I, they have to take that final step.

It’s strange. None are coerced. None are forced. It is their own free will that drives them over the threshold into the world beyond the curtain. In their eyes, everything is told.

Explaining why.

The twinkling desperation in their bright innocent eyes. They want so much to be accepted, to be thought of on par with Salim and I. Whatever it takes, they’ll do it.

And that feeling, knowing they’ll follow you blind, knowing that you have ultimate control, complete domination over their pathetic lives. That, is the greatest high of all…

How I started Al Nadir - Date Unspecified

Salim Al Douri

One thing, two words, that’s all I wanted. Except those two words were THE WORLD.

It wasn’t a dream, a fanciful notion. I’m Salim Al Douri. I don’t know what a fanciful notion is. No, this was a future reality I knew I could shape. I just needed the right creative combination of people, resource and opportunity. And I’d soon be on the right trajectory to achieve my goal.

I was in the CIA when I realised it wasn’t working. Wasn’t working for me that is. Eight years in counter-intelligence taught me one crucial lesson – everything’s connected. It’s just very few step back far enough to see the bigger picture.

I was already several miles out of the earth’s atmosphere. The bigger picture was seared on my eyeballs.

Globally connected terrorist collective. That’s what was needed. No more agency constructs, or fundamentalists from any religion or sect. Just a real taste of good, old fashioned and no-holds barred evil.

I was however, still stuck in the middle of Langley when that thought hit me. I’d just got back from a mission, and was in debrief. The mission hadn’t gone well. I’d witnessed my colleagues gunned down in front of me. It was the fifth mission in as many months that had gone southwards, and I was lucky to escape with my life. My CO had been concerned about what this latest episode would do to me. She mentioned trauma and stress. Truth was, watching those imbeciles die didn’t affect me at all. They had it coming. I’d always said they were too slow, but they never listened, and ended up paying for their ignorance. 

But this was my easy out. Making it seem my nerves were shattered. That I was out on the ledge, with nothing to stop me from tipping over.

I remember how I played them. My CO came over to my desk corner and said, “I’m not happy about you Salim. You’re going through psyche-A tomorrow.” My CO was a woman. Pretty but tom-boyish. Short auburn hair, pixie face, tall and quite muscular. Without a doubt, bi but kept it real quiet. She stared at me, and I looked up, eyes full of tears. “I don’t think I can take this anymore.”

The stupid bitch held my hand, “Salim you’re the best. I know, I recruited you. I knew what you were the minute I set eyes on you at Harvard. You’ve been in this business eight years, some don’t last half that time. I know what it can do. You’ve done great things. But right now, you’re useless to me. Go home, get some rest, and let the psyche-A do its job tomorrow.”

Before my psyche assessment I coked myself up. I was so strung out I could hardly hold a syllable. The psychologist sat in the chair, but I sat on an ant hill, or so it would seem. Jumpy didn’t even begin to describe it. Half way through, I got up screaming ‘That’s it, I’m through’. And I tore my badge off, laid my gun down and walked out. I remembered the psychologist look over at my CO, and she just said, ‘let him go…’

Within an hour of walking, I was in the air flying to Dubai. I’d rang my pilot who had my plane on stand-by.

It was October 10, 2000. The day Al Nadir was formed. The genesis of a corporation that would give me what I wanted.

Having worked in the CIA I knew what triggered those idiots, and I knew what to avoid. Al Nadir had to be so wacky, so over-the-top, as to not be considered as a threat by the intelligence community. Al Nadir became a cult. Its focus, worship of ancient aliens. Its membership, the brats of the rich and famous. The billionaire playboys wanting something different; the gorgeous beauties wanting an ‘in’ to top level eligible bachelors. For them Al Nadir equalled hedonistic ‘alien prayer’ parties, total craziness and drug-fuelled excess.

For a while.

And then I changed the mood. After 9/11 I knew the alerts would be everywhere. Suspicion lingered. But the agencies were too fixed on Al Qaeda, and their own ‘vendetta wars’. They weren’t interested in me or my crazy world.

But I still needed to throw them a curve ball. Just in case.

The yearly family sojourn to Europe delivered the tactical advantage I needed. My parents allowance was starting to run slightly dry, and although I had more money than most people would see in an entire lifetime, it wasn’t enough. Mother and father’s pocket money just wasn’t sufficient for the plans I had.

Contacts I’d made during my ‘black’ days sorted everything. All loose ends were tied. My family’s flight to Marbella was their swan song. I felt nothing. It was a requirement. That was all. I needed their billions and their deaths were the most efficient way to get them. My brother and sister’s demise was a bonus. I hated them anyway. Always trying to change me when I was younger. Always jealous of who I was to become. Pleased to be shot of them.

The agency got wind of the family disaster. Through back channels, my old CO contacted me. She said, how sorry she was. I intimated I couldn’t go on. I played the suicidal son to the hilt. She said it was Al Qaeda behind the bombing that took down Dad’s plane. Said it was something to do with oil pipelines. And then she promised she’d get justice for me. I thanked her, adding ‘it was last time she’d ever speak to me’. I rang off before she had time to ask what I meant.

My new found mega-wealth was heavily bolstered by some strategic investments. I still had my playboy billionaires on speed dial. They were always good for insider tips. It didn’t take long for the billions to multiply. In a few months I’d amassed half a trillion. That gave me the leverage I needed to make things happen.

But word was out in the markets that a financial guru was betting against and winning, but no one knew who. In the agency, I’d learnt how to hide money flows. The training paid off.

With the money secured. It was time to change again. Another metamorphosis beckoned.

I picked up what I had. Made it clear to anyone who knew me I was going into the wilderness to find myself. Gone was the party prince. Now I would live as a hermit. I walked out of my penthouse, and out of the 21st century.

With no electronic communication. I fell off the grid completely.

Of course, in reality, I hadn’t fallen anywhere. I’d just bought a string of LEOs and set up my own advanced telecoms system, working on protocols beyond the knowledge or reach of the intelligence agencies, or anyone else. Except me.

I’d also bought a whole host of companies covering everything from nanotech and biotech to advanced weapons and chemical processing. Nothing was in my name. Nothing could be traced to me. But I owned everything. I was the architect in this new world of my own creation.

And the irony of the entire plan. It was all done in plain sight of everyone. Al Nadir was hatched in those faceless buildings, those massive corporations, and those industrial plants across the world. The places where legitimate business was conducted, where my staff worked on my projects and plans completely blind to the bigger picture. But the tens of thousands that I had already recruited to Al Nadir through these commercial activities all marched to my tune.

Gradually, my network of capability across the globe grew, until that day when I decided to unveil my true intentions.

It was the day when, Salim Al Douri, their ‘religious harmless irritant’ said “I’m back!”

My Inner Thoughts on the Day I Decide to Join MI6

Sam Noor

28 July 2004

I still can't believe I'm actually going to do this. I've been in talks with Justin for weeks, but today is crunch time. He wants an answer.

I know what I'm getting into. I'm not being suckered into something against my will. There's no indoctrination, no influencing going on. The decision I make is mine, and mine alone.

And I know if I take up Justin's offer, my life will change. I'm ready for it. Starting a new job always involves change, but of course this isn't just any job. This is a vocation. It's something I've always wanted, deep down. Although I've never admitted it to myself. It fits me, it matches who I am inside.

It looks like I've made the decision already…

I know it's the right thing to do. I've been so bored lately. All those stuffy shirt meetings stocked with ill-prepared individuals with just a modicum of talent. Caring more for political points gathering than genuine progress.

And then there's been Ellie. I love her, but she just seems so caught up in her work. She's got no time for me lately. I don't feel like I'm the important one in her life anymore.

For the past fourteen years we've been inseparable. She's always been there for me, but since starting Cloud Nine Tech, she's only had time for the business. I realise she needs to focus on building something from nothing. But I feel I've been shut out of part of her life.

I know it's selfish, but right now, I need something for me. I need to feel excited, feel wanted, and feel like I care about my career again.

Stuck in my job. It's become the same old shit day in day out. I sit in those meetings, listening to all their crap, their inane discourse dripping from their lips and I just want to scream. And when I come up with all the answers, as I invariably do, some other official takes the credit. There's only so much of that I can take. Justin's seen that.

I go into those meetings, and half the time I just want to kill someone. Really kill someone, strangle, stab, shoot, whatever the method, I just feel I need to do it. Especially when they don't listen to what I say, when they put lives at risk through rushed weapons tests just to get their money rolling in. Nowadays, I don't bother with diplomacy. I just explode, telling them what I think. Always eloquently, of course, but my raw anger is still there, still visibly defined.

Justin’s seen that too.

He said he wants to develop me, show me how I can channel my anger, and use it for the good of the country. And the stuff he said I'd do. It all sounds incredible. I shouldn't even be waiting. I should be jumping in. The problem is Ellie.

If I start I can't tell her anything. Not just yet anyway. They said maybe later, or maybe not. Depends upon future circumstances. I know they've done their checks on her. They would've had to, before we got down to the real talking. They know she's clean.

What I can talk about is the offer that’s on the table from the Foreign Office. It'll be my cover job. A senior government official in science innovations with lots of overseas travel.

Justin said not to worry about Ellie, she's too busy anyway. He said she'd be pleased for me, for my new career break.

I think he's right. It's just lying to Ellie won't come easily. We share everything. Well, we used to before she got obsessed with... Ah fuck it!

I'm going to do it!

Justin's right. It's what I need. To feel alive. To live again.

ELLIE'S DIARY, 2 June, 2010

Ellie Noor

They're back again tonight. I knew they would be.

They have an innocence, like children playing. They skip across from cloud to cloud, and yet when they move across the velvety night sky they're invisible. It's only in the clouds where their presence is illuminated.

Glowing spheres of silver green bobbing about at the periphery of the clouds.

I say they're spheres, but I haven't seen their full form unencumbered by cloud cover. They feel shy. Timid even, on the one hand, but on the other, I can see them, the activities between them. Brimming with obvious mischievousness. It's like a spectral game of hide and seek.

The first night they arrived, I thought their light was a precursor to a thunderstorm, but no lightening came.

I remember shouting over to Sam to look, but he was disinterested. He stared at the sky, shrugged and muttered: "It's just some dick messing around with a laser pointer." And with that announcement, Sam returned back to reading papers for his work.

"It's not a laser pointer, Sam. They're spheres dancing in the sky. Can't you see them?" I was exasperated at his disinterest.

"God Ellie, you're always seeing things. You've been like that since we met. Come over here little weird one, and stop faffing around..."

Sam motioned to me to sit next to him. "You've got your work," I said sauntering over. He stretched out his arms and enveloped me in his muscular cage.

"I'd rather work on you."

Sam's husky drawl, touched me deep, and I sank into his arms and onto his lips.

The light in Sam's eyes illuminated even more than usual, and I realised that some activity outside was being reflected in his dark brown windows. I turned and watched as the silver green playful orbs glowed bright white light inside. They started to pulse with incredible luminescence, and for a second moved to hover almost parallel to our window, but still keeping within the confines of the clouds.

At that moment, I knew them. All their curiosity, their daring, their youth. And of course their effervescent playfulness. It was without bounds.

What they were however, I really cannot say. Young energies perhaps, that had slipped through into our world. Who really knows...But they were definitely not of Earthly origin.

On the last night I saw them, there was a difference.

Sam had gone off to Egypt. Some hi-tech trade mission or other, and the Foreign Minister needed him. He didn't tell me he was going, just left a scrawled note on the kitchen table. Usual modus operandi lately. Skipping off before I have a chance to even say goodbye. That bloody Minister Ludlow sees more of Sam than I do. Still, he'll be back soon, and then it's all champagne and yellow roses. He's always so breath-takingly passionate on his return from these trade missions abroad.

I arrived at Silent Waters shattered after a gruelling all day of non-stop negotiations with a client. The lights were off when I entered the apartment, but you wouldn't have thought it, given the amount of illumination that flooded the living room.

I ran to the window, and drew back the curtains. The duo of small spheres that had been visiting me over the past five days had been joined by two much larger glowing orbs. They moved together and then positioned themselves in front of me. The two smaller orbs took their place inside the two large ones. It was clear that my nightly visitors had been children, and the generators of such energy were their parents.

I watched as the circumference of the parents' orbs glowed bright silver white. The children’s form seemed to blend with that of their parents, and the two larger spheres solidified their form, transmuting from pure light to become two shiny, pale green mirrors. The mirrors pulled together to form a strange Venn diagram, and although they were solid, I could still see the shining silver white circumference through their bodies. They continued to move until they eclipsed each other, and only one circle could be seen.

The circle then titled, reflecting sky. Only the sky that it reflected was not the night sky, but a brilliant, clear blue sky of a summer day. I gasped in awe of everything I was witnessing. Could anyone else see this? I wondered, and knew I had to check the UFO sites later.

The circle of beautiful blue sky carried on tilting until it hit a one hundred and eighty degree angle. A straight line of luminescence that cracked scattering sparks across the sky. It then pulled into itself, like the opposite action of a telescopic wand, and glowed for a second like a small bright white dot of sun. And as I blinked, I could see it collapse to nothing.

I stood there for several minutes more just staring. I could still feel the energy in the room. In fact more than that, I could feel the energy inside me.

At that moment, an empathic bond had been built, and know not how or why. But it was like I had interfaced with it.

I had been the chosen one. The connected one...

EXTRACT - Security Brief - E Noor

Maide, J, Clearance Level Alpha

Classified Security Brief

What follows below is extracts of a security brief from surveillance detail actioned by Sir Justin Maide, Head of MI6 on 22 March at Silent Waters, Chelsea, London. The targets are Ellie Noor and Dr Sam Noor (MI6 Counter Terrorism Field Operative). The trigger to the surveillance was a conversation between Maide and Sam Noor, in which Maide concluded that Sam Noor could be a liability and is on the verge of going rogue. Upon reviewing intelligence, Maide has decided that his wife (Ellie Noor) is also a threat and has authorised her immediate extraction for interrogation.

Security Risk Assessment: 21 March 2014 - Low
Subject: Ellie Noor  Maiden Name: Vale  DOB: 02.05.1969 Place: Fulham, London
Home: Silent Waters, Chelsea, London and Red Rose Lodge, Winchester
Occupation: Managing Director, Cloud Nine Tech, Winchester
Huband: Dr Sam Noor (RX1 00908322) – Security Profile 1
Married: 25 July 1996, Winchester  Children: None

Family History

A review of Ellie Noor's family history has shown nothing exceptional or weird has ever happened to her. She is currently estranged from her Mother and her Father is dead. Her Great Aunt Lillian was responsible for raising Ellie from a baby until aged 16, Lilllian died of a heart condition. Ellie was talent spotted and became a model, where she stayed with other young models in London, but did not like the lifestyle and left to join IBM. Their details are below.

Father: Stardust Traveller (real name Tim Jones) DOB:  21 December 1942 Place of Birth: Dover
Current Status: Deceased: 27 November 1982 Reason: OD Heroin

Mother: Athena Marguerite Blakewood-Royce DOB: 18 March 1954 Place of Birth: Chelsea
Current Status: Married - Senator Alan Bohlen-Curtis, Republican Houston, Texas

Great Aunt: Lillian Joan Wilson DOB: 11 May 1894 Place of Birth: Fulham
Current Status: Deceased 12 January 1986 Reason: Cardiac infarction

Background to Relationship with FO Dr Sam Noor

Ellie first met Sam Noor August 4, 1989. Location: IBM Winchester. She was interviewed for a position as Executive Secretary. The couple began a relationship 18 August 1989 and married 7 years later. Ellie Noor was subject to rigorous security checks before Dr Sam Noor took his position and nothing showed up. She was clean.

Surveillance Snapshot

This surveillance indicates cause for concern. Ellie Noor exhibited irrational behaviour, outside of the psyche-range. She spoke to an empty kitchen, and on the surveillance appears to communicate with someone not visible. She asks questions which indicates she was in communication with someone, and then she pitches forward and screams for no reason. Full analysis has been undertaken on the surveillance data and no reason for the scream can be found. Her husband uses a technique to question her, but she does not acquiesce. When Sam Noor presses her for a reason, Ellie Noor explicitly lies to her husband.

Referencing the Sarah Masters case, and her brutal murder of her husband, MI6 Field Operative Michael Masters, it would appear that Ellie's behaviour constitutes a revision to her security assessment from low to high. If there is any possibility that she is an Al Nadir spy, full measures need to be in place.  Advise immediate action to identify the cause of the scream.

Link to: Transcript  SurvMote:_Log8880_14_UDE_771_Y

My Secret Journal, 23 March

Sir Justin Maide

I glared at other two.  I know that everything we’d done so far had been wrong. But if we all kept it cool, and played out the plan, under the veil of ‘National Security’, we’d all be exonerated from blame.

“We’ve got nothing to feel guilty about. Nobody died…” I took a beat. “We acted correctly. It was all above board, in accordance with National Security protocol.”

Nobody spoke. For or against. My colleagues Quentin and Davison were numb. Too much had transpired. All of us just wanted to finish the ‘plan’ and get on with our lives.

I mistook the silence for submission.

“Right. Okay. Good.” I said, clapping my hands together in that typical which always said ‘let’s go to work.’

I watched Quentin turn back to stare at Ellie. Her skin still had a faint blue tinge. She looked deathly peaceful. A shiver ran through him.

“Do you think we’ll ever find out how?” asked Quentin.

“What! How she awoke. I don’t know. What do you think Davison? You’re the ‘so called’ expert here?”

I was tetchy, my sarcasm obvious. It always surfaced when I was faced with something I couldn’t explain. And Ellie was definitely something I couldn’t explain.

Davison took umbrage at the ‘so called expert’ reference. His back stiffened slightly whilst he walked around to the other side of the bed and stared intently at Ellie. He turned his head, ignored me and spoke directly to Quentin. I could see, medically speaking, Davison was on fragile ground.

“I can’t explain it. Maybe, some effect caused by the drugs we gave her reacted with some other unknown agent that was already in her system and delivered the reaction that we observed.”

I felt that uneasiness rise up in me again.

“So, she could have had some drug in her during our interrogation?”

“I don’t know, and to be quite honest, I’ve never in all my life, encountered the situation that occurred today.”

“So what you’re saying is that she could have been loaded, but with a different type of bomb. One that put her into say, a coma, and then triggered a release waking her hours later. Does that sound plausible?” My mind was racing. I knew it, my suspicions were right. She was Al Nadir. And we still had her.

“It’s plausible, but I don’t think she was loaded. She was given NMS, right?”

I nodded. Quentin closed his eyes. I could see he was recalling the interrogation. It wasn’t pleasant memory, Quentin’s face told me that much.

“The process would have detected and identified any agent in her blood that was alien. It’s been designed like that.”

“Shit!” I said.  So maybe she wasn’t Al Nadir. Maybe she was just a freak of nature. Which was even more worrying. Just what the hell are you Ellie?

“I’m going to do a full medical test on her. I’ll get to the bottom of it…” said Davison confidently.

“See that you do…” I said roughly.

Quentin had gone quiet, clearly thinking. His face was pensive.

“What if she remembers?” asked Quentin finally.

“She won’t. NMS has that effect.” Davison confirmed.

But I shook my head: “On normal subjects, yes I agree, it has that effect. But with Ellie. What we’ve already seen. We can’t be sure of anything.”

“So what do we do?” said Quentin.

“I think it would be safer for all of us if she had her short term memory wiped permanently.” I delivered my remedy without remorse.

“She could end up brain damaged. Sir, you know that process has ‘errors’.” Shouted Davison, horrified by my suggestion. He looked at Quentin for back up. Quentin remained quiet, but I noticed he was extremely uncomfortable.

“So, that’s the price we pay.” I admitted coldly.

“We don’t pay any price. It’ll be her that pays the price. We’re getting ready to ruin her life.”

Davison’s voice rose higher. I could see he couldn’t hold back. Must be something to do with him being a doctor, but that was no reason for his impertinence.

“My God, Sir, haven’t we done enough to that poor girl. You know what we did to her in that room. I beg you, don’t touch her memory. She’ll be a shell for the rest of her life if you do.”

Davison now was shaking. I’d always seen him as a perfect ‘yes man’. I couldn’t believe he was so affected by that girl. It seemed she’d created a deep connection with the young doctor. I didn’t like such a situation, and I wasn’t going to stand for his insubordination.

“Davison, you may have forgotten but this is about National Security. We are at war. Remember that. And war requires us to take exceptional measures; sometimes those who appear…” I stopped, stared at Ellie. I really didn’t feel she was innocent. There was something more to her, much more, and I dearly wished I could keep her, analyse every piece of her and find out what really made her tick. But unfortunately, I couldn’t. With Sam, I had to be beyond careful. He’d rip me apart as soon as look at me. It wouldn’t matter what my position was. Sam’s blind to all of that when he wants to get things done.

Davison suddenly screamed back at me, pulling me out of reverie:

“National security! She’s only a wife. Not a spy. Not a terrorist. And she’s not Al Nadir. She’s just Sam’s wife. A man who’s put his life on the line for us many times. This all started because you thought Sam was going off the rails. It was you who didn’t trust him. Lord alone knows why, he’s been an unbelievable agent to The Firm. But this stops now, Sir. Right now. No more. Her memory’s already been wiped by NMS. Please, let’s leave it at that. ”

I watched Davison finish his invective. He stared at me, totally exhausted. I straightened and coughed.

“You’re wrong saying all of this started with Sam. Ellie screamed and despite our exhaustive analysis, we could find no reason. That was extremely strange. We thought she could be an assassin or a spy like that Sarah Masters business. But I understand your anxiety.” I conceded awkwardly, “None of us want to cause her any more suffering.”

And then I added brusquely: “But I want those tests to prove conclusively that there is nothing in her system, before she leaves here.”

Davison nodded, but did not meet my eye, impudent little upstart.

“So Davison complete those tests and prep Ellie for transfer. I’ll handle the operational side. Quentin, you need to be on point following the hit. Gentlemen, let’s turn this thing around.” I listened to my voice. It sounded strained.

I’d had enough of the day. I just wanted to see it over. As much as I wanted to analyse Ellie, right now, I wanted her as far away from me as possible.

“Are we all clear?” I said abruptly. Silent nods registered their acceptance.

We just needed to keep calm, and everything would play out well, I thought, as I watched my colleagues depart from the room. That is as long as Sam Noor never discovers the truth.

If he did, no sanctuary, no place on Earth would keep me safe from his retribution.

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